tv Today in Washington CSPAN January 26, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EST
majority of blowers want to comply with the law. this means verify and greatly increasing the inspections, the fines and prosecutions. as recently as 2006, i.c.e. collected a grand total of zero in the way of enforcement funds. er intoo. we have over six million employers in the united states. zero. this is going to change. all right. i want to spend the rest of the time that i have talking to you about a signature effort for and the assistant secretary. that is detention reform. there is no more serious effort underway at i.c.e. than this. it is myçó personal priority an frankly, i think it is going to mark my time and tenure as accident secretary. for the nay sayers, the conspiracy theorists, the
hardened critics, mark my words this is a sustained aggressive effort to transform immigration detention. there is no going back, period. my foot is in the path. we are going to do this whether people believe me or not. . . .no carrierringconnect 1200 the warrants detained. and the and this is not about whether not we are going to detain people. we are.
this is about how we detain them. why do i believe we need to reform? in a nutshell, here is why. weeded teen approximately 32,000 people a day in the united states. that translates to roughly 380,000 people a year. but right now we do it through a sprawling network of contract facilities that are uneven in their design, uneven and the kinds of conditions that they offer, and even in the kinds of medical services that they provide. at times we have had over 300 detention facilities being used at once. that is just entirely too many facilities to maintain good control and oversight over. moreover, there is a fundamental problem in that most of these facilities were never designed
for immigration enforcement. what is their detention power? are detention power is civil in nature. we are not a penal institution. we detain people for purposes of removal. we detain people because if we release them they would pose a danger to somebody or they would run away. it is that simple. we are not incarcerating anybody. so, what do we need to do? i think frankly we need to make something far different than an incremental change. we have to literally overhaul the system and we need to make sure the system we own and operate at fast expense to the taxpayer reflects our basic powers as an agency, that is civil detention, and reflect the fact that we have an extremely diverse population of people that we detained. there are a lot of people that
we detain who have serious criminal records, and they do need to be detained in something that looks a lot like a jail. but we also detain a lot of people who oppose no meaningful risk of danger to the community. they just run away if we release them and those people don't need to be detained in something that looks like or was built to behead penitentiary or a penal institution. we also became far too dependent on contractors. this was in the making for many many years. but we have come to a point where there is not even a single federal employee in the car largest institutions overseeing the basic detention function, not one. in my view, we went too far. and we need to have a better
balance. now, let me be clear. we are going to continue to rely on contractors whether they are in private industry and whether or not they are local or state government. we get a lot of very important services from contractors. contractors are very good at a lot of what they do and many can do it better, faster and more cheaper than the government can. this is really a question of balance in making sure that we have at the end of the day federal employees overseeing the system. what do i mean what i say detention reform in practical terms? i mean a much, much smaller network of dedicated i.c.e. detention facilities designed specifically for immigration detention purposes. facilities with plenty of telephones, open spaces and the conditions, facilities no more restrictive than needed to keep
people safe and secure purchase some of these are going to need to look like jails but some of them want. facilities near transportation hubs for good access for families and legal service providers, facilities marked by professional uniforms medical care. facilities managed by federal employees who were trained, conscientious and feel a moral imperative to treat people well and resolve issues that will rise and issues will arise. we run an enormous system, 380,000 people. people will get sick. people will have issues. people will have mental illnesses. people will die in our custody. that is the nature of running a very very large system but we need to make sure that in that context we are providing the very best medical care we can with ferry ferry conditions and that we are responsive to those issues that arise. we need facilities managed by
federal employees who were there to oversee the actual day to day detention operations. again. we are going to continue to rely on contractors in many instances but i want to have a federal employee who was there and our largest facilities. we need claire transparence standards that are fully implemented and overseen. michael is for our detention system to be basically an open book and for the people that are concerned about how we do our business, that there is a level of transparency, a level of access or they can come in and they can see what it is we are doing. i mean i want that to be the case even for the people that are completely opposed philosophically to the idea that we detain anybody in the first place. it is just good government. we haven't always operated that way as an agency but i intend to see we do that going forward.
getting there is going to take some time. let's be frank. rome wasn't built in the day and this is an enormous effort. it will need to continue long after i am the assistant secretary. it took decades to get this to this point come a decade since it is a big system so we are not going to be able to solve it in the coming weeks but we are going to be able to make tremendous headway in the coming months, in the coming years and we have already done a great amount just in the eight months i have an assistant secretary. let me give you a few highlights. first, we created the office of detention policy. one of the first things i did as assistant secretary so that we had an office whose sole job was to think about getting it right, to make this detention reform work come to think about how we should be doing things and not just going out and saying we need another 500 beds and finding out where we could
contract for 500 more beds but to really think about what it is we are doing, what authorities are we exercising, how should we exercise that authority. we are extremely fortunate in that phyllis colbin, who is here to my left, is running that office and those of you who know phyllis, she is a doer and she gets out there and she just days focused and that is what we need. she has been focused and you are going to see a lot more change in the coming weeks and months. i formed to the advisory groups. one on detention conditions and one on health care. these do advisory groups are to meet directly with the assistant secretary. again the idea is i really want to hear from the many different groups in stakeholders will have an interest in what we do, even if they disagree with how we do it. good government involves a level of transparency and open and candid exchange. we haven't had it the way we
needed in the past. i am intent on seeing it in the future. receipts families of the family facility in texas. we now only house women there. it is an all female facility and we only have one family detention center in the united states. we have reduced the number of facilities that we used by 50 and we are going to continue to reduce the number as we go forward. and reissued the protocol on detainee debts that require us and i.c.e. to investigate every single death in our custody. regardless of whether it is by natural causes or whether there is some concern of substandard medical care and the like. and we are going to give notice to the inspector general, to congress, to mediacom to the advocacy groups. you will beals iguana web site
come see how many people died in their custody, what the circumstances were and what we are doing about it. and then married you-- in the very near future we have exciting things about to happen. one of the things i am particularly excited about is we and the institute, god willing in june, the very first on line detainee locator system so you can take someone's number, someone's name and you can go to our web site and figure out where they are detained and then you can look up the facility, where it is located, with the telephone number is, what the hours of visitation are, how you get there and you will know where the people we detain our. i want to assign regional case managers to detainees with complex medical cases. in the past we have only typically done this for people who are actually in the house bill. now we want to make sure every person who has a significant medical issue regardless have
somebody on top of that following that case. we are in the midst of hiring 50 people whose job it is to go and work in our largest facilities to monitor and oversee our daily detention practices. as i said before, we don't have such a person right now. if you were to go to our largest facilities and ask for the i.c.e. ward and there wouldn't be such a person. we are going to have that kind of person. and we are going to start with a major facility and that is going to quickly get this coverage for those facilities that detain 80% of our population and our goal is to have such a person in every single facility that we use. we are developing and are going to sinaloa classification system so that when you come into our
custody, we classify you not only in terms of your risk of flight or your danger to the community but at the very same time, your medical status so that we can make a determination of front, what kind of facility do you need to be in and not just from the perspective of where you run away and were you hurt somebody but what kind of medical care you need to have. do you have the kind of medical condition that means you need to be detained in a facility that has a particularly sophisticated level of care or is next to a place in the country that has a hospital with that kind of care. we are surely going to issue our very first request to the private sector for the construction of an i.c.e. detention facility designed for the purpose of the immigration retention. we are going to start filling
out and instead of saying please provide as 500 beds or 1,000 beds and the result being that we get 500 access beds and a jail or somebody goes to a jail that is no longer being used in says here are your 500 beds. we are going to go to contractors. we are going to go to state and local jail systems and we are going to say we want fife hundred beds are we want 1,000 beds, but we don't want a jail, we wanted immigration detention center and it needs to have these kinds of qualities. it needs to have these characteristics. it needs to have these kinds of telephones and open air and we don't want any bars. we want this, this and this and indeed some of this kind of medical care. we have started to have these conversations with industry and listen, i am very pleased to say a number of instances the contractors that we have been working with hef on their own
made some improvements to the existing facilities and services they provide. and i think as we go through@@@r this process, we will see a more sophisticated relationship between us and the people we contract with and the much better results in the kinds of facilities that we use. i am hoping that before i leave, and who knows when that will be, several years down the road, we will have an immigration detention center that the people who are interested in this room can look at edit will be a jail. it will be building that was designed solely for the purpose of removing people. detention standards. we are spending a tremendous amount of time on this.
i know it is a subject of great concern and controversy. we have been working with the number of the advocacy groups. we are going to make a number of important revisions to our existing standards, so that we address some of the acute issues, namely access issues now. people need to be patient. the problem with the existing standards that we have is that they are based on the american correctional association standards. they are largely coming out of the penal world and that is not where i want to be. i want us to be in an immigration detention. the truth of the matter is we are going to be operating and using facilities that don't look anything like the facilities that we use right now. and, so we need to have some
flexibility in the approach to our standards and we all need to work together so in a few years, we have standards for what i hope is going to be an entirely new world. we are trying to build some flexibility into our existing standards. we are trying to have some minimums but also some target ideals and to do it in a way that is flexible enough that we can work with the various people that the contract with to get there and get there in the context of existing contract. remember all of this is governed by the federal procurement regulations and rules. again, it is going to take some time but just in the short time that we have been working with they have the kids, working with the contractors we have been able to make some pretty significant changes and i think we are going to be able to continue to do that, and i would encourage all of you to have an interest in this coming to come on down and give us your
thoughts. again, it is all about balance and we won't always be able to do every single thing that you want us to do but i think we are a lot better off for the conversation. so, listen, on that note, let me close and just say that we are quite serious about what we are trying to do at i.c.e.. we are quite proud of the work that i.c.e. does as an agency. we are going to spend a lot of time making sure that i.c.e. is better understood and celebrated for what it does. we are going to spend a lot of time making sure that i.c.e. is a little more transparent and open to all the people who have an interest in what we do. we are going to spend a lot of time trying to make it easier for those people who care about what we do, to come talk to us, to give us their thoughts, give us their ideas.
i don't pretend for a minute to think that we have the agency have all the solutions to what are some fairly big challenges, and i would ask everybody here do you know, pursue your interaction with the agency in that regard, keep coming feel free to criticize, feel free to push us heart. just know at the end of the day that it is a balance and we are all motivated by trying to get it right and we are not always going to be heir of-- do everything that everybody wants us to do. in fact there is no way we are going to be able to do it and i will just tell you able story that highlights the challenges of being assistant secretary. on the very day, i got a letter accusing me of giving away the store on immigration enforcement. i got a letter from a group of concerned advocates accusing me
of pushing the bush administration on enforcement, so i think i'm going to frame both of those and have them on either side. government is about balance. and at the end of the day, what has worked for me in my career as a federal employee is just trying to get it right. i don't know any of the way and that is the way i intend to pursue my time as assistant secretary so with that, thank you very much for having me here. i appreciate it and i look forward to answering any questions you or doris has. [applause] >> very good, john. that certainly is a vision and it is a vision that i think many people would subscribe to and we look forward to seeing if fully implemented.
i am reminded in listening to you of just you know an enormous range of things that an agency like this does. so, i have a series of questions across many of the domains that you have talked about but let me start with detention, since that is your signature priority as you have laid out, and because it has been an extremely difficult issue over the years. one of the things that kind of gets lost always in the discussions of immigration and immigration funding is that the amounts of money that have been given by the congress to detentions and removal have grown in percentage terms, even greater than the amounts of money we have invested as a country on border enforcement and border enforcement of course has been the priority enforcement's interest of the
congress, but detention is very, very heavily resourced and it is growing very quickly and it is as you pointed out the largest system than most states run and just one of the activities you have in your agency. so, i think it lot of people really applaud the attention that's you have been willing now to give to this and the priority that you have given to it. that said, it is a long-haul and it is controversial and i know you are running into some of that. let me just ask you about the element of the tension that has to do with who would this that goes into detention in the first place. we know that a lot of things get tighten up in 1996 and our laws. once somebody is in detention, they pretty much are on a track. it is difficult to change it,
but who gets put in detention in the first place is still a choice that gets made, and that is a function of the overall discretion that is in the system and activities that are carried out not only in i.c.e. but other parts of the system. talk to us in little bit about what your thoughts are about getting on the conveyor belts and the first place. >> alright, it is a really interesting sort of topic and a challenge for us and i think it will unfold over the next two or three years as not only be grapple with the reality of who is going into our detention space now and whether that makes sense in two looking at securer communities implemented across the country and we start to identify an ever-increasing number, a very serious criminal offenders for hum detention as mandatory and if not mandatory, strongly recommended.
what is that going to mean for who goes into proceedings, and r detention space. a lot of people go into our detention because we don't have any choice. diva mandates their detention. that is particularly true for criminal offenders and it is also true for several classes of the arriving aliens particularly those being expedited. so we start off everyday with a huge number of people who go into our detention simply because the law says they are going into your detention. where we have discretion i try to bring as much sort of balance as the law will allow to that. as you may know, we have issued new guidance when it came to the
parole of asylum seekers and there, unless it is very obvious the presumption is you are going to be released. we need to give more thought to whether you need, even where we have discretion, and even where you are a risk of flight, whether hard to tension is the only option. and that is where alternatives to detention come in. i can easily envisage a world in which you are in fact a risk of flight, but your detention is not the only solution to that problem. and rather there is an ankle bracelet or intensive supervision program that can be
used for you to make sure that you show up. a few quick issues on alternatives to detention. it is not a panacea and it is not a panacea for a couple of reasons. it does have a fairly good rate of success when you look at making sure people show up for their hearings, but the real test is whether or not people show up for their removal, and i can't be in a situation which i am spending large amounts of government resources, the taxpayer dollars on the program that does not ensure a high rate of success when it comes to actual removal. the other big trick with alternatives to detention is that only works if you have some form of an expedited docket that is mirrored with it, matched with that.
even though alternatives to detention are a lot cheaper than an ankle bracelet, a lot cheaper than detaining you, if the detention docket is such that your case is fully considered, heard and decided in the space of 4260 days, yet if you were on an ankle bracelet you would go on that noncriminal, non-detained docket and it would take two years for your case to be heard, that tortoise catches the hair and surpasses the hair many times over. so for alternatives to detention to be successful it has got to work, it has to actually be a true alternative to detention and it has to be cost-effective. we are working with the executive office for immigration review on a pilot to see if we can match alternatives to detention with expedited docket
and seaware does that leave us, and if we can in fact put you on an ankle bracelet and have you, your case considered and heard in a relatively short period of time compared to the general none detainees docket, will that work and will we save work? if we can, i am all for it. there is no reason-- detention isn't an end in and of itself. detention is there to ensure that you either don't hurt somebody or you up here for your proceedings. i don't think alternatives to detention are particularly useful for people who are a serious risk to others. but for the many people were detained who are risk of flight, if i can assure you will show up for your removal proceedings in some other way, and i am happy to do it and i'm happy to consider it. one sort of final thought on this question, and i don't know
where we are going to end up, but as i mentioned communities is going to transform i think immigration enforcement because we are going to finally start to answer some questions that we have never been able to answer before. namely how many people are going through our criminal justice system and how many of them are serious offenders and what were their criminal convictions and what kind of record did they have? i think the answer to those questions and we have all known this but we have never had it in hard times, the answer is there are a lot of people going through our criminal justice system for either here unlawfully, have a serious criminal record or are now deportable because of a serious conviction, and the system is going to have to deal with that reality as we go forward. if uscm astatic leval of bensen-- we have a mandate in
our appropriations for 3,400 beds. unless you really increase that level@@@@@@@ @ $1a unless you increase that space, you will have to make some t&ude-offs. you'll have to make some judgments as to how you will going to find room for all of these serious criminal of vendors that you did not previously identified. now we are identifying them up front in a meticulous clockwork fashion. the beauty of secure communities is that every single person gets their fingerprints run, citizen, immigrant, it does not matter if you lie and say you were born in the des moines, when you were born in paris. we will run your finger prints.
we will run against the fbi database and it will come back and it will say you have a criminal history. to give it to you in real terms -- we take a lot of people that the border patrol catches every day trying to come across the border, the southwest border. it makes sense. wycombe of lawlessness along the border. there has to be some sense of deterrence.
in many instances, those are not mandatory detentions. we do them as a matter policy because that makes sense. we take a lot of people for for the border patrol. outside of prison systems, the border patrol is the single largest source of our duties. going forward, we will lead to reconcile and balance those things. >> if you look at secure communities and other criminal alien programs that have the ball over the years in ice, it looks from the outside like a bit of a patchwork. you have talked about secure communities and that is a more systematic kind of approach. should we infer from that that secure communities is likely to become the overall framework
for criminal alien identification or is there going to continue to be some kind of knitting together of all these other criminal alien initiative, as well? st you are right there is a tremendous patchwork of programs and we hit the institutional hearing program that many of the folks for with ims will remember, then there's the criminal alien program that is the larger umbrella, we had to 87 g and the delegation of immigration enforcement authority to a certain state and local actors and noss khator communities -- secure communities. i think that the power of secure communities is such that it will become the dominant form of criminal identification going forward. but remember secure communities is simply a tool to identify
those subject to removal. it is literally an automated fingerprint system where would we do is take advantage of the fact every single person who is arrested in the united states for a criminal offense are brought to the local jail has their fingerprints taken and in the old days a was a paper process. now we come in and give an electronic tablet, you put your fingers on and at the same time that your fingerprints are taken for the same purpose they always were, we then from then immediately against the fbi database and against the dhs the database and in a matter of hours the jailer is a complete record to the extent it exists in the database of who the person is and we seek criminal history and immigration history,
so i think we will see secure communities become the dominant means of identifying those people. there's still the question how do you respond to the edification -- identification and in many instances we want to respond directly as an agency. but there are limitations and resources and that is where programs like 287(g), and where you augment the resources that we have by delegating immigration enforcement power to them on federal employees and the works particularly well in the detention context where they are already detained. we will continue to do the institutional hearing program in federal and state penitentiaries because it makes sense for people to out in order before they come to us. this gets us slightly into something i think is important for all of last, and that is
criminal offenders and makes more sense for the system to encourage them to come to immigration detention with in order already in place. i can't tell you how many criminal defense attorneys come up to me and say your client just wants to go home and now you're going to make my client go through three or four months of continued detention before that is possible because even though he or she has committed, finished their criminal sentence did not to go to immigration detention and spend another three or four months until they can go home. the law recognizes this. there's a provision in the law that allows for a stipulated orders. it's never been particularly encouraged, and so its use is on easing. i spoke to the sentencing commission, and one of the ideas i offered to the sentencing commission was for the sentencing regime at the federal level to offer some sort of
encouragement in the way of reduction of sentence to people who want to stipulate that they are in fact removed and come to trust me with a removed order as the within the institutional hearing programs all we have to do is get the electronic travel so people don't have to spend three or four more months in our custody when either they want to go home or the truth of the matter is the law doesn't allow that for them and that is the case for so many of the criminal offenders that we've received. lots of them have prior orders and all we do is reinstate the order. they are not even eligible for any meaningful relief. >> with shift gears how things are working institutionally because you point out that i.c.e. has lots of shared authorities, the hand of issues on the coordination as between i.c.e. and cbp, ultimately the
justice department with board of immigration and so on are pretty complex and some of them they were difficult to resolve or-board may from time to time when i was all an agency when we have three agencies plus. so were things like i.c.e. having the attorneys that do the cases along with i.c.e. cases, the border as you say in terms of feeding detainee's into the system, employer verification that the cis with employer enforcement at i.c.e.. what kind of coordination mechanisms are taking place? there's been from time to time evidence of right hand, left hand not being in concert. hell are some of those things? what processes are in place and what things would you still like to see that would improve that kind of efforts to create more
seamless this? >> we need greater coordination, no doubt about it. the good news is it is old home week at the department of homeland security and i can't tell you how many people who have been involved in immigration enforcement for a long time now find themselves back at the dhs and involved in making the system work. you are going to hear soon from the head of cis, he was a prosecutor with me. the new ambassador for sex trafficking was a prosecutor with me. the head of alcohol tobacco and firearms was a prosecutor with me in the eastern district of virginia. so many of the actors i need to deal with on a day-to-day basis are people i know, people i've worked with and people that have real fault and experience.
now, that's not a good permanent solution so what we need is a better ability to coordinate our efforts. two things are going on to address this problem. one is the secretary placed a tremendous emphasis on juan dhs that is a greater sense of unity and purpose of eckert within the department of homeland security, and there is much more in the way of a thoughtful, intentional policy coordination that is directed from the mothershed as opposed to just from the individual components. i want to add to that because i do think there are still many, many things the individual components do the should be
coordinated. so i've been thinking about having an immigration sort of coordination council the would be made up of the heads of the three major immigration components plus some of the key actors from the department of homeland security. alley and i have started having lunch together quite regularly and if you will see as the months unfold and the full team gets in place and dhs that those sorts of coordination efforts increase and become more formal. >> okay. i'm going to open up the floor for questions. there are microphones here and we are going to need to use the microphones so if you would like to ask a question why don't you come to the oil and why not and will make it easier. and if we can i might reserve one question for the end but we will see what goes from the floor so willing going to do is go from one to the others we are
fair on each side to read and are you -- we will start with a question in the front and then go to this microphone. >> [inaudible] with [inaudible] >> a few things. we are about to submit a report to congress on alternatives to detention. we have at any given moment funding for about 16 to 17,000 slots which is pretty significant, and we have just consolidated the contracts that we have to manage the alternatives to the detention
into one and that has been a help. the pilot program with the department justice should start in about a month, and we will see how it goes. that pilot won't cover all of our spaces. it's just that, it's a pilot. one of the challenges that we face in the immigration system is there are a lot of different actors so even if we fully commit to the alternative detention, if there is a resource problem it affects us quite profoundly so the idea with a pilot is to see can we make this work and if so we need to go back to the attorney general and say we need to expand for alternatives of detention to be truly successful on a national scale we need to commit additional resources around the country and it just highlights the problem is that
eoir faces. you can hire more i.c.e. agents and border patrol agents but if you don't hire more immigration judges you are not going to get to a pretty result. we need more immigration judges to hear the cases. if you were to look at the non-detained dockets that eoir has, that might deportation officers have, you'd be shocked. they go out as far as the eye can see and that is not a good place for us to be. >> who has the microphone -- okay. and tell us who you are. >> [inaudible] on the a 287(g) program isasi the administration made changes with law enforcement is there thought to getting rid of it all together and making sure that federal officials are in charge of immigration enforcement.
it is a statutory provision. congress created the program. it's not within my power to turn ' i did make a number of changes as to how we delegated authority and limit the number of changes as to the circumstances in which we would delegate the authority but we will continue to delegate it. there are many, many instances in which cooperation with state and local law enforcement make a tremendous amount of sense. in paris -- in fairness to 287g, that is a legal provision that allows for a whole host of cooperation between federal,
state, and local actors. 287g in the context of identifying gang members who are here unlawfully and on the streets of a given community makes a lot of sense. there is a lot of detectives at the local level who know more about ms13 in their town then we will ever know. when we can partner with those people to identify individuals like that and remove them from the streets, makes sense287g makes sense, particularly with secure communities to starting out. it makes sense and a lot of large, local, and city jails where there are serious criminal offenders being identified on a large scale. they should go home and we don't have the resources to cover every single city or local jail and we can use help in well-
defined circumstances. is a particularly useful instrument for basic civil immigration enforcement and that's why i did not renew any 287(g) agreement that had that as one of its focus. we need 287(g) to be focused on people that mirror our priorities that are threats to the community and that are serious criminal offenders, gang members, what have you and we also said it looks with the end of the day i.c.e. and only rac knorr three's the actual removal under the 287(g), not the state or local government. >> we have one more question and then i'm going to the microphone. >> [inaudible] i have a question for you. recently by the national team
work was created between dhs and it deals especially with deportations. i would like to know your expectations from the teamwork and the second is about to eps and i would like to extend the question to you. there's been a lot of this question recently on especially this program that was granted for nicaragua and some other nationalities -- it was like ten years ago people discussing what kind of temporary situation is that when the event that actually triggered that program was a solution. i would like to know about that, please. >> i think the gps is beyond the scope of what we are talking. it doesn't involve rac. if you want to of the conversation about it afterwards we can do so to the first
question. >> to the first question we do. my national eckert will sell for or to focus on removal and how we can recognize we have a long-term relationship we will continue to remove a sycophant member of el salvadorans. how can make the relationship the most productive and beneficial one possible. we've had our first meeting in el salvador just this past week. it's going well. i'm way to go down and i think in two months for the fallout, and when you will see is a steady effort to make sure we provide as much information as we can about the self dorians we return to el salvador, and in the context of removal mechanisms that make the most
sense for the two countries and the people involved. >> okay. to the microphone. >> i'm with amnesty international usa triet i had to questions. the first i haven't heard before that i.c.e. had jurisdiction to prosecute 400 colonel violations. but i wondered where does the jurisdiction our life from and also what course our the ic going? >> the customs laws and immigration laws of the united states. we are a marriage of the two powers and that is where the authorities come from and we prosecute those cases in the united states district court and federal system on the country.
>> [inaudible] -- i'm not sure where else they are. >> they are in title viii, title 18 and all of the customs, they, are there, trust me. >> i have another question. [inaudible] mistakes are made. sometimes like you said it's not necessarily i.c.e. putting someone in to removal proceedings. it could be a cbp officer who does that [inaudible] the document to strip some of their liberty. or someone who's picked up on the street. and i wonder and this is something i've raised as a real concern because mistakes are
made [inaudible] it can teach years to litigate those cases. this opening up and focus of people who made [inaudible] what safeguards will be in place to insure those documents to don't have the expertise including complicated that someone is watching what they are doing [inaudible] >> welcome the short version is we are looking. we talk about this need for coordination and the fact we ultimately are the central prosecuting authority for the entire system including csis and cdp and that is one of the
critical roles that the attorney plays the trial attorney has a responsibility to make sure the of original charges that were launched are sufficient and are the right charges and i possess the prosecutorial discretion for the entire system and i intend for the trial attorneys to act accordingly. >> jim? >> i handle removal cases for the courts in the washington area. i see tragic cases all the time, cases perhaps somewhat like your mother where they've been a permanent resident for decades and for example because congress has to find as an aggregated felony a misdemeanor shop lifting offense for which you get one year suspension in jail and this triggers mandatory attention.
the same with someone who's been a permanent resident since the internet as a child and have misdemeanor marijuana conviction for which they got probation. detention on re-entering the united states. so i'm just wondering how we might make your job easier if the department could support fine-tuning immigration laws to not have these kind of consequences where you are detaining and prosecuting people for, excuse me, offenses which have been dealt with as not serious offenses under the state law. would you encourage the department to support changes in the law in congress?
>> its long term permanent time and i think if and when there is a serious effort afoot in the congress to revisit the immigration law we and ground of deportation the would be an area we would want to spend a fair amount of time getting fonts' on. >> i'm going to ask both of these questions and i think we have to finish with that person and this person and then you can answer them together. and i will have to pass. >> mine may not require much of an answer more something for you to look into. michelle verney with the women's refuge commission and i also share an alternative action team because it is lots of organizations many of whom are in this room and i want to say we have great discourse with phyllis on the reform efforts
and i think those are moving ahead and we've been able to have back-and-forth not so much on the alternatives to detention even though there does seem to be movement on the part of the agency it would be great to have more interaction with those of us who've been working on alternative detention issues for a long time and one thing in particular we are concerned because we hear it repeatedly is the cost issue and just one thing to point out and make sure your considering when you're looking at costs is you're not comparing the average length of stay for those in detention with the average length of the case outside of detention without considering the kind of cases. the kind of cases the shorten the average length of stay in detention are those who wouldn't qualify for alternatives any way and take the stipulated removals' quickly turned around so if you could consider the kind of cases before just averaging in the cost per day but maybe if we get a meeting to talk specifically about
alternatives. >> we will take that as a comment and suggestion and go into the last question. >> [inaudible] -- to many people detained within your system. but we have a few cases and i've been here now six years and i'm glad to hear about conditions improved and all that but in certain cases they are not sort of notified to us. we are not mandatory notification country under the vienna convention but still all people must have the right to contact the consular officer and so it happens to learn about the case very fleet and the other thing is it takes a long time to understand now with the lack of immigration judges but also what we need is a contact point, and it's been very difficult personally for me to find someone to speak to about this case and find out why what is the delay, where is the person.